Caring for our animals
Animal welfare underpins everything we do across our zoos.
We continually strive to improve the welfare of our animals through regular assessments and research, and by sharing knowledge with other organisations.
We follow the ‘The Five Domains’ (Mellor and Beausoleil, 2015) model of animal welfare which describes that there are four ‘physical/function’ domains – behaviour, health, environment and nutrition – that all have an impact on an animal’s psychological wellbeing.
This fifth domain (the mental domain) reflects how an animal experiences life, and this gives rise to the animal’s welfare status.
By conducting regular welfare assessments for all species in our care, as well as conducting quality of life assessments for the individuals that we have ongoing health or behavioural concerns for, we work towards providing a positive and stimulating environment for all of our animals.
Research into animal welfare – along with the methods used to evaluate welfare – is constantly evolving. In response, we focus much of our research on this topic. From gathering data on the impact of husbandry interventions, to monitoring animal behaviour, we help our conservation services and veterinary departments to make informed decisions about housing and husbandry practices.
In addition to focusing on the welfare of the animals in our two collections, our Research Manager chairs the EAZA Animal Welfare Working Group and is a member of the BIAZA Animal Welfare Working Group. These groups work to provide members with resources and guidance in conducting welfare assessments by running workshops and conferences and share information between zoos within each region.